International Women’s Day: Meet 20 Incredible Women at JDI

For world-class business, we need world-class people. JDI is proud to have these excellent leaders as part of our team. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re honoring some of the exceptional women who excel in their field, advance their industries, and give back to their communities.   

Womens Day 1 

Vicki Berg, Welder, Irving Shipbuilding; Linda Tran, Quality Assurance Manager, Irving Shipbuilding; Ann Mellema, Director of Program Governance, Irving Shipbuilding; Susan Coulombe, Leader White Pine Division, Michelle Boyer, Project Engineer

Shipbuilding & Engineering

1. Ann Mellema

Ann is Director of Program Governance for Irving Shipbuilding. In 2015 Ann was named as one of Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner by the Women's Executive Network. Ann is a leader in her field of Engineering, and a local and international volunteer. 

Ann was part of a team of ten women from Irving Shipbuilding who built a new home with Habitat for Humanity in East Preston, Nova Scotia in October. The Women Build initiative is part of Habitat for Humanity’s global campaign that brings women together with the goal of helping families in need of affordable home ownership.  

2. Susan Coulombe

“I started (at JDI) as a co-op student twenty years ago. Thirty-six hours after my last exam, I came on full-time – and I’ve never stopped learning.”

As leader of the White Pine division, Susan leads a team of over 300 in Canada and the US. JDI invests in their employees and Susan is no exception: Susan was supported through her CMA and MBA.

3. Vicki Berg 

Single mom and Irving Shipbuilding Welder Vicki is encouraging other women to grow their career in shipbuilding as a mentor for NSCC welding students in the Women Unlimited Program.

4. Linda Tran

Linda is Quality Assurance Manager at Irving Shipbuilding. Linda is a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement and was supported by the company through her MBA.

5. Michelle Boyer

Hiker, ice climber, engineer; adventurous Michelle is a project engineer who loves the variety of challenges at JDI. 

Womens Day 2
 Katelyn Paige, GIS Programmer Analyst; Natalie Urquhart, Director of Finance, JDI Woodlands; Zandra Rozo Director of Application Development; Shona Millican, Forester, Tree Improvement, JDI Woodlands.  

Information Technology & Forestry

6. Katelyn Paige

Katelyn just began her career with JDI in 2015 but that doesn’t mean she’s on the sidelines; the GIS Programmer Analyst uses LiDar technology to inform 80 year forestry plans and enable JDI foresters to make smart decisions in the woods. Katelyn helps protect wildlife, rare plants, unique areas and watercourses with technology.

7. Zandra Rozo

As director of application development for JDI’s Information Technology Division, Zandra leads and motivates a team to provide IT solutions to various JDI businesses. Zandra is from Colombia and made the Maritimes her home. See Zanada’s story at 58 seconds.

8. Natalie Urquhart

Natalie has grown her accounting career with JDI. Natalie is the in a leadership position in finance as the Director of Finance for Sawmill Division. JDI proudly supports employees through accounting designation programs. Over half of our recent CPA graduates are women.

9. Shona Millican

Shona is one of over 150 JDI foresters working in New Brunswick forests. Shona contributes to tree research at the Sussex Tree Research Lab. “Breakthroughs we make here at home may help keep trees healthy across North America. We’re at the top of our industry and new investments will keep us there. Our work today will keep the forests healthy for years to come.” 

Womens Day 3

Nicole Clement, Contact Buyer; Dalla Sissoko, Draftsperson, Kent Homes; Pat Harknett, Midland Vice-President of Human Resources; Diane Godfrey, Executive Assistant to J.K. Irving; Deborah Fisher, PALS Coordinator, Johanna Shonaman, Manager, RST Sunbury.


Business & Community Leaders

10. Pat Harknett

Midland’s Vice President of Human Resources was recently awarded Woman of the Year at the Atlantic gala for Women in Transportation.

“I love to enable women to see trucking as a career avenue,” said Pat Harknett. “My career in transportation has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow, while presenting exciting challenges. I believe growing the number of women in transportation will help grow and evolve the industry.”

11. Dianne Godfrey

Twelve years ago, Dianne Godfrey, Executive Assistant to Mr. J.K. Irving, was matched as a mentor with Chantal through the Big Brothers Big Sisters and the PALS program. Chantal was a student in first grade at Prince Charles School. Meeting on a weekly basis, Dianne and Chantal’s relationship developed over the years to a special, lasting friendship. 

Dianne and Chantal are proof of the life-changing relationships that come from the Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS) program. 

“The most important lesson I learned from Dianne is to never say you can’t do something. She always had good advice and left me feeling proud of myself,” says Chantal. “She was not only a mentor, but a person I still look up to, the backbone in my life.”  

12. Dalla Sissoko

As a Draftsperson at Kent Homes, Dalla is not observing leading edge projects, but contributing to their success

13. Nicole Clement

As a senior buyer for J.D. Irving, Nicole works with over 250 communities and 1,700 suppliers in her home province of New Brunswick. 

14. Johanna Shonaman 

Johanna started as a New Brunswick Community College co-op student and now leads a team as a Manager at RST Sunbury. 

15. Deborah Fisher

Deborah Fisher was honoured with the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for her work on the internationally award-winning PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) program. 

Womens Day 4

Colleen Baxter, Vice-President of Human Resources; Lindsay Thompson, Manager of Social Media and Research; Angela Roy, Student Recruiter, Angela Boyd, Talent Management Specialist; Susan Wilson Director of Human Resources for Irving Woodlands. 

Recruiting and Growing Tomorrow’s Talent

16. Angela Roy

In 2015, JDI hired 4,239 people across our operations; this includes over 100 new university and college graduates from the class of 2015. Sixty of these new graduates work in our New Brunswick operations, like JDI’s Student Recruiter Angela Roy. Angela was hired as part of JDI’s Career Track Program – fast tracking career growth and development of young talent.

Angela is part of the JDI HR team, recently recognized as Atlantic Employer of the Year by Dalhousie University’s Career Management Services. She’s also active on local university and college campuses at case competitions, career fairs, and information sessions recruiting over 600 student co-op positions and  paid internships in 2016.

17. Angela Boyd

Talent Management Specialist Angela develops the leadership skills of JDI our people as the instructor of JDI’s Leadership Fundamental’s Program.

18. Susan Wilson

Susan, Director of Human Resources for Woodlands recruits and develops future talent that care for our forests.

19. Colleen Baxter

Vice President of Human Resources, part of Colleen’s leadership role is awarding students with scholarships like the $8,000 renewable JDI UNB Scholarship.

“We are committed to growing the potential of New Brunswick’s young people and to keeping them home with rewarding careers,” said Colleen. “We are proud to have over 600 UNB grads on our team and 94% of them are working here in New Brunswick.  We value our partnership with UNB and our shared efforts to develop the next generation of New Brunswick’s leaders.”

20. Lindsay Thompson

Lindsay is manager of Social Media and Research for JDI. With twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, Lindsay shares career opportunities to keep, return and welcome people home to the Maritimes.

Over the next three years, we are forecasting almost 7,900 hires across our operations across Canada and in the US. The forecast is the result of retirements, anticipated business growth and normal workforce turnover. Follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on career opportunities.

Advancing Ocean Research

Womens Day 5

We would also like to recognize five incredible researchers advancing ocean research through Irving Shipbuilding’s partnership with MEOPAR.

Assisting Fisheries Management by Integration of Data from Non-Specialized Assets, Ferries, Citizens & Satellites
Maycira Costa, University of Victoria

Prioritizing Threat Management Strategies to Arctic Marine Activities Integration & Synthesis Project (AMAIS): Enhancing Ocean Governance Through the Northern Marine Transportation Corridors
Jackie Dawson, University of Ottawa

Monitoring Marine Plastics in Canada’s North
Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Continuous Assessment of Plankton Abundance and Community Structure in Canadian Coastal Waters with a Novel, Flow-Through, High-Throughput Holographic Microscope Operated on Volunteer Observing Ships
Julie Laroche, Dalhousie University

Ensure Long-term Resilience of the Fraser River Estuary
Julia Baum, University of Victoria